Fertility rates across the globe are declining, and it’s thought that around half of this is due to the male factor. A new review of 25 studies on pesticides shows a link between lower sperm concentrations and exposure to pesticides. Researchers have made the connection that men who have been exposed to a certain set of pesticides have been shown to have significantly lower sperm concentrations, which affect their fertility levels.
Do pesticides affect sperm count?
The research published in Environmental Health Perspectives, has been conducted over a period of a decade and contains data from over 1,700 men. This analysis was a review of 25 existing studies. Researchers found multiple relationships between high levels of insecticide exposure and lower sperm concentrations.
Poor sperm concentration explains the accelerated decline in male fertility levels, along with various other environmental factors. This analysis talks primarily about two chemicals found in insecticides: organophosphates and carbamates, both of which are detrimental for fertility. Organophosphates are chemicals used to poison animals and insects in agriculture. Carbamates are applied to the soil to kill insects.
Scientists, professors and researchers deem this revelation “concerning.”. In the past, many scientists have probed the effects of environmental toxins on our bodies and one such study also covered the impact of their exposure on male infertility specifically.
An extensive part of it observes how pesticide exposure from food results in decreased testosterone, testicular weight, and seminal vesicle weight. Moreover, 100 pesticides used in food production, storage, and transportation have now been classified as endocrine disruptors, which can impact male fertility measures to varying degrees.
However, some researchers believe that pesticides cannot be blamed entirely and have their reservations. Indeed, observing sperm concentration trends is highly complex, and external factors, such as lifestyle habits like smoking coupled with natural aging, can also contribute to this decline.
Scientists are now working on ruling out different chemical classes that are harmful for reproductive health and urge people to reduce their exposure to insecticides and pesticides if they wish to start a family.
How to improve male fertility?
While studies like these can help us understand the seriousness of the situation and potential causes of infertility, it is important to take actionable steps to safeguard your reproductive health.
Firstly, making lifestyle changes, such as shifting to a balanced diet, is a must. Studies show that a diet rich in nutrients such as zinc, protein, folate, and antioxidants can result in improved fertility for men. All of these can be found in fresh organic fruits, whole grains, beans, and sprouts. In addition to this, the elimination of smoking and alcohol can help improve sperm and egg quality.
Another crucial element is leading an active lifestyle. Exercise not only promotes healthy weight but also reduces stress, which is known to trigger cortisol, which can disrupt hormones. Going for a simple walk or trying moderate-intensity exercise, depending on your health, can improve your chances of getting pregnant together as a couple.
Your fertility is in your hands
If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant but it’s taking longer than expected, you may wish to make an appointment at a fertility clinic to get personalised advice.
Finding an IVF clinic in the UK that can provide male and female fertility testing is now easier than ever. Detailed fertility testing will help your fertility specialist diagnose any underlying reproductive health issues effectively and put a plan into place to meet your goals.
The studies mentioned above highlight just how crucial it is for men to take care of their reproductive health alongside women. Simple lifestyle changes can significantly improve your fertility levels, but if you still struggle, seeking professional help is the best option. Your fertility is in your hands.